House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson told a gathering of Episcopalians in Denver May 20 that Christianity has always been embroiled in controversy and that, while the Episcopal Church is no different, it "has the Good News of reconciliation to bring to this world and we are doing that in amazing ways."
"We walk along God's tightrope balancing our great value for diversity with our desire to speak with one voice," Anderson told the Martyn Hart Legacy Society. The organization recognizes parishioners and friends of Saint John's Cathedral in Denver who have made provisions for the future ministry of the parish through estate gifts.
Anderson spent May 19 and 20 in the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado where she spoke to three different groups of Episcopalians including the legacy society and preached at two services in St. John's Cathedral in Denver.
Noting that the Acts of the Apostles records the early controversies over inclusion of Gentiles in the early Church, Anderson said that from their earliest recorded history "Christians have failed to agree on what unites them and what separates them."
The prior evening, Anderson told another group of Episcopalians that "the Episcopal Church is alive and well and the Anglican Communion is about God's mission in the world."
She told the general meeting of the Richard Hooker Forum that "the Episcopal Church is a significant part of this work in the world."
"A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity stands before us," she said. "We have the means, the technology and the resources to end world poverty."
The Richard Hooker Forum describes itself as an informal group of approximately 200 clergy and laity in the Diocese of Colorado dedicated to spreading the progressive message of the Gospel and working for the full inclusion of all God's people in the Episcopal Church. It promotes the Millennium Development Goals, encourages unions of same-gender people and deployment of partnered gay clergy and their ordination.
Anderson outlined for the group the current process underway for the Episcopal Church to respond to the proposed Anglican Covenant. She also reviewed the recent Communiqué issued by the Primates of the Anglican Communion at the end of their February meeting near Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
In between these two speeches, Anderson preached at two Sunday services May 20 in St. John's Cathedral. Noting that the Epistle reading that day included the Bible's last words, Anderson said, "People of faith have good reason to pay attention to last words. In them we find the distilled essence of the message, we find the truth."
In the case of the last words of the Revelation to John, Anderson noted, the words form an invitation, "not of judgment or harsh words -- but of open invitation."
"What is most important is the invitation," she said. "We are invited to God through Jesus. In turn, we are invited to invite others -- to share the story, the power, the transformation, the comfort, the justice of God through Christ."
Between the two services, Anderson spoke at the Dean's forum during which she explained her role as president of the House of Deputies.